We all know how important local search has become. It seems like only yesterday when your Google search results window wasn’t chock-a-block full of local listings lettered A to E. Well just like back in school, you can think of these letters as grades. With the top 5 Google Local listings lettered A-E (I should note that where I grew up, F’s were called E’s). Just like in school, many factors influence what kind of grade you ended up with.
The Same Is True In Local Search
To me, one of the most important factors in earning good grades was showing up for class. Sure, we all had a friend who would constantly skip class, cram for a day and a half, and ace the test. But for most of us, showing up to class day in and day out, no matter how boring it was (Physics, I’m looking at you), gave us the best chance at possibly earning that A. In a way, proper Title Tags are the “showing up to class “of local SEO. Having properly optimized Title Tags on your web gives you the best chance at earning that A in local search.
What Does A Properly Optimized Title Tag Look Like?
Just like showing up for class every day, a properly optimized Title Tag is simpler than it seems. Showing up for class required time and energy, and a properly optimized Title Tag requires a keyword & your Business Name. This fine article from the Search Engine Journal goes into all sorts of details regarding the methodology behind this. While their methods are complicated, their conclusion is easy to digest.
A whopping 79% of the sites studied that were considered by the author to be “High Ranking Places” contained a Key Word in their website’s Title Tag. This Title Tag is what Google displays in the first five listings (remember, A-E). If your site didn’t “Make The Grade”, only their Business Name is displayed (F-G).
The second part of a properly locally optimized Title Tag involves including the Business Name in your Title Tag. Fortunately for you, Foster Web Marketing long ago realized the multi-faceted importance of including the Business Name in the Title Tag, and it is why we populate your Title Tag with it AUTOMATICALLY! Below is an example of a properly optimized Title Tag that places our client Zimmer Duncan & Cole as the first (A!) ranking for the search term Sioux Falls car accident attorney.
Could It Really Be That Simple?
In the above instance, the answer is YES. A properly optimized title tag was enough to move Zimmer Duncan & Cole to top of the Google Local rankings.
But What About More Competitive Search Terms?
Just as some classes were harder than others, some search terms are harder to achieve rankings in. Let's Run A Search For Richmond DUI Lawyer Our client Bob Battle currently ranks second locally for the term Richmond DUI Lawyer. A quick look at his homepage reveals a properly optimized Title Tag featuring both the Key Word and his Business Name. So What Gives? Well a quick at the top results in the above query will reveal some telling differences.
Tell Me What You Really Think
If you look to right of the query, you will see that both the A and B results have reviews on their Google Places page. Google Places aggregates reviews from both Google users, pulling from Google Maps & Google Pages, as well as independent websites, such as Avvo, Yelp, & other industry-related sources. These reviews give credibility to the validity and accuracy of your Google Places page, and ultimately impact your Google Local. Is the difference between ranking 1st and ranking 2nd in Google Local as simple as having one more review than your competitor? The answer to that is, NO. There are unseen factors such as the number of local citations your business has been submitted to that Google weighs heavily in determining Local search rankings. While just like showing up for class every day didn’t guarantee a good grade, neither do a properly optimized Title Tag and numerous user reviews. But between the two, they give you a good chance of ranking in the top five in Google Local Search.